REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

Rousserolle effarvatte

 

A summer visitor to Switzerland the Reed Warbler is found almost exclusively in reed beds at low altitude (normally below 600m), this means its distribution is somewhat limited since such habitat is now rare in this country.

Also the Reed Warbler is a rather shy bird, difficult to see in the dense reeds where it often stays low down, and even when seen it is just a bland brown thing with few real distinguishing characteristics. However when it sings the paler throat becomes prominent and the song is very distinctive - a rapid chattering of rather coarse sounding, guttural noises, the syllables of each phrase are repeated a variable number of times, usually 3-4 times each but can be up to 6 or 8 repetitions, usually with a slight change in pitch from one phrase to the next, giving the impression of a mechanical instrument "krek-krek-krek, chee-chee-chee-chee, kerr-kerr-kerr" etc separated by the occasional screech or whistle, it gives the impression of a very industrious bird working hard at its song:

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The speed of delivery and the repetitive nature of the phrases are apparent if we look at just 5 secs of the sonogram:

The song is mostly delivered from a hidden place in the reeds, although the literature tells us that they do have favoured song posts (specific favoured spots to sing from). Individuals will also include mimicry of other species in their songs but this is often hard to pick out amongst the general cacophony of noise from this bird. Here is another sample from a different bird:

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As yet I do not have any recordings of the calls.

 

 

 

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